Fair connects youth to mentorships, job opportunities

By Darrell Crenshaw

INDIANAPOLIS — Enthusiastic teens with smiles on their faces walked through Central Library in downtown Indianapolis as they explored the fourth annual Youth Opportunities Fair Monday.

Developed by U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, a Democrat who represents much of Indianapolis, the fair is a chance for the young people to get their foot in the door for acquiring jobs and scholarships.

Businesses await for kids to be informed about their business. Photo by Darrell Crenshaw, TheStatehouseFile.com

“It’s our effort to invest in our young people. I think our younger people are brilliant and have genius minds,” Carson said.

More than 65 businesses, mentoring organizations and military recruiters attended this year. The fair is designed to provide opportunities for kids as young as 5 years old all the way up to 24 years old. For first time participants, like Transforming Design Inc., the shot to impact these kids are most valuable to them.

“Our purpose is to instill purpose, vision and value inside of our young people and this event is perfect for us to do that,” Roberta Townsel, owner of Transforming Design Inc., said. “We try to help kids build up their self-esteem through the use of art therapy.”

Mentoring organization 100 Black Men of Indianapolis saw an increase in volunteers and program participants after attending last year’s fair.

“This is an opportunity not only for the students but also for the families. This is something that can follow these kids all the way through college,” Joseph Eldridge, program and community service and engagement specialist, said.

Carson expects the fair to continue to help young people in the future.

“We get a lot of calls with people saying thank you because they were able to get jobs and scholarships because of this fair,” Carson added.

Darrell Crenshaw is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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